My book group and I are reading the new Cleopatra biography, Cleopatra: A Life. One of the first facts that it corrected for me was that Cleopatra was Greek, not African. I think that somewhere around the age of 19, some professor had told me that Cleopatra didn’t look anything like Elizabeth Taylor. I took this to mean that she “wasn’t white.” My conclusion made sense, given Egypt’s geography and white people’s insistence on claiming every ounce of history for themselves. But as the book points out, I was under the wrong impression.
I was also under a false impression about something else. A seemingly well-intended Republican claimed on the house floor the other day that Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger, started the organization as a means to an evil end. Conspiratorial history tells us that she was a believer in eugenics, or the science of “improving” a human population by means of controlled reproduction. This led me to assume that Planned Parenthood’s foundations were rather shady, but no one ever talks about it.
But of course I thought wrong. This argument has been used by anti-choicers as a means to tug on the heart strings of The Left, which in this case they take to mean “black people and those who have their best interests in mind.” As this post strongly points out, this argument is used to instill fear into the hearts of women who are in need of care. And as this Representative points out, Planned Parenthood is a much-needed presence in the lives of many women throughout the country who need access to reproductive care.
Though it doesn’t seem as though it will pass, this bill brings up the fact that the Right Wing loves to prey on our misconceptions, often created by their own imaginative view of what the truth of the matter really is.